The defending champions drop points for the first time, Napoli’s squad depth has been fruitful, Lazio has stabilized, Roma loses to a surprising Spal, while there was a late-late winner in the Derby della Madonnina. Below, Vijay Rahaman (@TriniSportsGuy) gives us the rundown of Matchday 9.
Roma 0-2 Spal
If ever there was a match so far this season, where the stats were not relevant, it was this encounter between the Giallorossi and the Gli Estensi. Roma dominated possession, shots, passes, pass accuracy, but at the end of the final whistle, it was the visitors from Emilia-Romagna, that came away with all three points.
Spal scored both goals from set pieces in either half. The first was a penalty converted by Andrea Petagna, after Luca Pellegrini had committed a sort of clumsy challenge on the away side’s counter-attack. The second, was from a corner, as Kevin Bonifazi was left unmarked, to head home to score his first goal for the club in his first appearance.
The visitors were reduced to ten men when goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic was sent off after angrily throwing away the ball behind his goal after being booked for time-wasting just a few seconds earlier.
Roma are back down to earth from the Derby win two weeks ago, while Spal’s lovely football is a welcome addition to Serie A this season.
Juventus 1-1 Genoa
The Bianconeri dropped their first points of the season, and the Grifone’s Krzysztof Piatek did not score for the first time this season (effects of the international break I wonder…)
Both goals in this match were scored in strange ways. Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal for the home team was converted after a Joao Cancelo cross – that somehow caused confusion in the Genoa defense – as he tapped the ball in from four yards out. The Liguria’s team equaling strike was probably even more in-explainable. Christian Kouame was at the by-line after the ball was cleared by the Juve defense, everyone assumed the ball would go out, but it did not. Kouame crossed it and Daniel Bessa eluded The Old Lady’s defense to head home.
The lapses in concentration from Juve’s defense was heavily criticized by their manager Max Allegri in his post-match conference, and they would have to do much better if they are to end almost a quarter of a century of no trophies in Europe.
Udinese 0-3 Napoli
Lorenzo Insigne was rested for this game as Carlo Ancelotti rotated yet again, but the football was still pleasing on the eye and the Partenopei came away with another three points.
Fabian Ruiz replaced Simone Verdi, who picked up an injury early on, and it was the Spaniard who opened the scoring with a lovely curling effort at the top of the box in the 15th minute. The away side dominated the match, but could not get that second goal and had to wait until ten minutes before the end to get their deserved rewards. A lovely move by Kevin Malcuit through the left side of the home team’s defense was met by Jose Callejon, whose shot struck the arm of a Udinese defender, and the referee pointed to the spot. Somewhat harshly in my opinion, but Dries Mertens converted the spot kick. Croatian midfielder Marco Rog came in late on and, with his first touch, scored to seal the points for Napoli as they close the gap between them and Juve to four points.
Ancelotti is making everyone at Napoli feel important, while the Frulians have now lost four matches in a row.
Frosinone 3-3 Empoli
The Canarini and the Tuscans have transferred their thrilling Serie B form to the Serie A, with yet another six-goal fest. Both games last season, had six goals in them, with Empoli winning away 4-2 and the first game being drawn 3-3. The game on Sunday at lunchtime would have certainly filled the appetite of fans.
It started with an own goal, as Matias Silvestre put the ball into his own net from a cross. The Azzurri leveled just after the hour mark, after Luca Antonelli made a nice run past a few of the home team’s defenders, for Miha Zajc to score from his cross. Silvestri atoned for his earlier error, as he scored from a corner to put his team in front. The Lazio based side tied it up after the use of the VAR gave them a penalty – Daniel Ciofani converted. The captain then scored a second to put the home team up again and give the fans hope for a first win of the season: Joel Campbell made a darting run, squared it to the Avezzano born striker, who calmly slotted the ball home. However, we had another equalizing goal, as Turkish footballer, Salih Ucan hit a superb volley from a corner to level matters and the points were shared.
What. A. Match. The shared point does nothing for either team’s hopes of Serie A survival, but, it was fantastic to watch from a neutrals point of view.
Chievo 1-5 Atalanta
The Flying Donkeys hired the most unpopular man in Calcio, and La Dea fully took advantage as they destroyed them and took all three points back to Bergamo.
Dutchman Martin de Roon got the party going, with a ferocious shot from 20 yards that flew past Stefano Sorrentino and the rout had begun! It was then the Josip Ilicic show! The Slovenian has struggled for form and fitness this season, but he struck a hat-trick in just 32 minutes. The first was a sumptuous strike from outside the box, the second, a lovely run and finish in the bottom left-hand corner of the goal, and the third, the easiest of tap-ins. Robin Gosens hit a thunderbolt in the 72nd to make matters worse for Ventura’s team, and even though Chievo did manage to score a late penalty on through Valter Birsa, it was scant consolation.
Chievo’s inevitable relegation is closer, while Atalanta will need to take this win and kick-start their season.
Parma 0-2 Lazio
The Biancocelesti stayed in contention for a Champions League place with two late goals away at the Stadio Ennio Tardini, against a Gervinho-less Crociati.
The Romans fully deserved their win, as they made the most of the running and dominated from start to finish. They, however, did miss chances through Senad Lulic, Patric and Ciro Immobile. But, the striker would get his name on the score sheet from a penalty, after a clumsy challenge in the box that gave the away team a spot kick. The Italian international then set up Angel Correa off a counter to finish off the match.
Parma’s reliance on Gervinho is somewhat plain to see, while Lazio march on.
Bologna 2-2 Torino
The Granata took a two-goal lead versus the Rossoblu at the Renato della Ara but could not hold on.
Iago Falque opened the score for the Piedmont team with a left-footed curler from all of 25 yards out. They doubled their lead through Daniel Baselli after poor play from the home team. They played around with the ball near their own penalty box, was picked off, and the Manerbio born player was there to score.
The seven-time Scudetto winners have improved a bit as the season has gone on under new manager Pippo Inzaghi, and they duly tied up the game, within the space of 15 minutes. First Paraguayan Federico Santander deflected a cross into the net, then Auturo Calabresi continued the trend of players scoring their first goals, with a blast into the top of the Toro net, after the away side failed to properly clear the ball.
Both teams are lacking consistency and it is hard to know what exactly their ambitions are this campaign.
Fiorentina 1-1 Cagliari
Another game, another Federico Chiesa controversy…..
La Viola’s young starlet has beecriticizeded for going down “easily”, and this time it was even more heightened, not only the foul, but by who it was at fault. It was his Italian international teammate, Nicolo Barella, who was adjudged to have fouled the Genoa born forward. Barella was subsequently booked, after the referee looked at the VAR and he protested vehemently! Will this affect their relationship the next time they come together to play for the Azzurri? Jordan Veretout converted the spot kick for his 12th goal for the club, but the Sardinians equalised through Luciano Pavoletti, not from his head though, but from his left foot with a sliding finish from a cross. He celebrated the birth of his son recently, and this was just the icing on the cake.
Both teams had chances to win the match, with Chiesa coming close twice and Joao Pedro for the away side, but Alban Lafont for Fiorentina and Alessio Cragno for Cagliari pulled off some marvelous saves.
Inter 1-1 Milan
I wrote a full piece on the Derby Della Madonnina, so I won’t go too much in-depth here, but just a few thoughts…..
1. I loved the Choreography from both sets of fans.
2. Inter were the much better team, actually played football and fully deserved their win.
3. Milan were boring, defensive, and not in the traditions of the free-flowing football of the club, and manager Gennaro Gattuso must take the blame for the way he set his team out.
4. Luciano Spalletti is not everyone’s favourite, but there is something he must be doing right as Inter have won seven straight games.
Sampdoria 0-0 Sassuolo
Both teams have been entertaining this season, but could not separated in this encounter in the Luigi Ferraris.
The closest either team came to scoring was through Domenico Berardi, who hit the post in the first half with a curling effort. Gregoire Defrel for Sampdoria – playing against his former side – had a close chance as well to score when he was left unmarked but hit his volley wide.
That was just about it from this match….